Not content with a height barrier designed for toy cars they are closing the parking for an indefinite period from Monday. See http://www.pentlandhills.org/ for updates. Pedestrian access will still be possible. The next handicap will now start at Bonaly. And be called ‘The handicap formerly known as Dreghorn’.
Archives for July 2017
Summer holidays for the kids can be so boring when they would rather be at school….don’t you parents agree??. To keep Finlay busy and get my creaking knees going we have done a few things. As part of the Bouroughmuir Barbarian U16 Rugby training we have done another series of 7 hill running sessions to get the lads out of bed on a Sunday and keep them fit and motivated for next season. They are a good bunch and in amongst them could be the future of Scottish Rugby and maybe even the future of Scottish Hill running in a few cases. Runs have been an hour long and up to 9km including beaches, the Esk Valley, the Pentlands and the last one this Sunday at 1100 on Arthurs Seat if you want to join in. We’ve had all kinds of weather and including the odd river, reservoir or sea to get them wet.
Having up’d the hill fitness a bit I conned Finlay and Sparky to a bus trip to Nine Mile Burn and he did his first 11 miler along the reverse of the First leg of the Skyline back to hillend in just over 3 hrs. That seemed to go well so when on holiday in Cornwall we entered the Man vrs Gig race which is a fun event with runners against 6 ‘gigs’ who with a team of 6-8 rowers row while you run. Gigs were originally built to take pilots out to incoming vessels in the Atlantic. It is a hilly coastal route out and back including 2 miles of killer soft sandy beach in the middle. The winner was Keswick’s Carl Bell who showed his Wasdale Skyline winning pace to all challengers and won easily. Finlay, who had to act like a youthful 21 year old to get entry, came 18th. I puffed in 23rd/100+ runners and accepted Finlay’s pint for him as consolation for loosing again to the lad. We did a warmdown family walk from Looe to Polperro along the SW Coastal Path which looks like one cracker of an Ultra route or week+ of walking, camping, running….if anyone fancies it.
On the way back home to Edinburgh there was 2 good days of weather forecast so having stopped the night at Kendal to break up the journey, we packed for a lightweight walking reccee of a few legs of the Bob Graham round. Both had sore knees and so took a fairly fast walk from Dumail to camp at Wasdale and then Wasdale to Honister, ticking 22 hills over 30 miles and around 4000m ascent. We confirmed that Yewbarrow is a bugger of a climb, that the Lakes hill are sometime wee and rocky, and that Finlay was suitable tired but the end when thunder, lightning and rain stopped play, so we missed that last and first legs which we ( I ) had planned and bagged a lift to Keswick for a B&B and a bus and train home.
With a few weeks school hols to go….what next for the lad?
Man vrs Gig Results: http://mudcrew.co.uk/event/the-man-v-gig/
Apologies for somehow missing this report sent in April from Conor Cromie…
Dublin2Belfast Ultra – 21st/22nd April 2017
On the 21st April I lined up with 25 other hardly souls at the somewhat leisurely hour of 11AM for The inaugural Dublin2Belfast Ultra. 107 miles of tarmac stretching from the Guinness factory at St James Gate in Dublin to the Crown Bar in Belfast.
Not my usual type of course but their was a pub and the start and finish lines and the route went through my home town of Lisburn. And well, if your only going to do one road race in your life it might as well be a quadruple marathon 🙂
The main pack bolted like we were off on a 10k run leaving myself and a half dozen others trotting along at the rear enjoying the scenery and a good chat. Think I was second last through the first checkpoint at 15 miles.
The route winds its way through the Dublin suburbs, past the airport and out onto the R132 which goes the whole way to the border at Dundalk. Not the most scenic of roads and horrendously busy. A few sections with no hard shoulder to run on were pretty exciting with all the trucks using the road to avoid the motorway tolls.
Running through Dundalk late on a Friday night provided some good entertainment, the locals all agasht that we were out running at that time of night.
Crossing the border we picked up the Newry canal path and followed the backroads through Pontzpass and onto Banbridge. Long hours of darkness, never ending rolling countryside and HGV’s screaming along the backroads normally on the wrong side of the road.
Daylight broke as I approached Banbridge with the winner already in Belfast in just under 20hrs, though I have to say that arriving several hours before the pub opened seems like bad planning to me! Now onto the A1 that runs all the way to Belfast and a road I know like the back of my hand, not sure if this was a curse or a blessing, but at least there was a hard shoulder the whole way to keep me out of the way of the traffic.
My family came out to meet me just before Hillsborough which was great after quite a few hours by myself. By this point my easy early pace was paying off nicely as I was picking off other runners every few hours. My ankle was hurting like hell though so was reduced to a death march by this point. Local knowledge was also on my side with quite a few people not taking the most efficient route through Lisburn. With only 10 miles to go my sister joined me for the march into Belfast, quite pleased that she was having to work hard to keep up!
Finally the Crown Bar came into view as we went through Shaftsbury Sq and the race was done, 27hrs 22mins and 10th place.
A well earned pint of the black stuff was had perched atop a wobbly stool in the middle of a crowded bar, immensly proud that I managed not to topple off backwards onto the floor!
…now that’s done and dusted where have the hills got to!
On Saturday Chris H and I made our way to the sunny Borders for the St Mary’s Loch Standard Distance Triathlon. I’d bullied Chris into entering a couple of weeks ago, dismissing his claims of not being an experienced enough swimmer to do it. He’d been to a couple of swimming lessons a week prior, so I figured he’d be alright for it. Triathlon can be a little daunting, I think, and sometimes you just need that little push from…em…a caring buddy that only has your very best interests at heart. So I pushed in my usual overbearing way. You’re welcome, Chris! On the drive down I was hoping that the weather would make it all seem worthwhile, but the relentless rain and drizzle made us both wish that we hadn’t entered at all. It really was a day for sitting under cover, drinking tea, and snoozing. It certainly wasn’t a day for splashing around in a loch, then skidding around on your bike, and then sploshing around on a run. The only kindness shown by the course was a warm water temperature – a surprising 16°C, exactly the same as the air temperature.
The race started well, the warm water certainly making a difference. It feels like breathing is easier, that my lungs feel less tight, but that may just be my imagination. I managed to sneak to one side of the main group which kept me away from the stramash of bodies, flailing arms, and feet looking to kick your face off. Easy breathing, steady swimming. It was relaxed! In fact, it may be the first triathlon swim I’ve really enjoyed. I can only put this down to an increase in the amount of open-water swimming that I’ve been doing. Anyway, no sooner had it started then the 1500m were all over, and I was gingerly trying to haul my sorry carcass over the stony waterside.
The bike was also alright too, strangely. I was concerned that I was going to get cold just cycling in a tri-suit, but the air was mild and made for an enjoyable cycle. Well, not cold, at least. The cycle heads south west-(ish), out then back, along the quiet roads of the A708 to Moffat, 40km in total. At the heart of the cycle is a hill passing by the Grey Mare’s Tail waterfalls. On the outgoing leg it’s a fast, winding descent – it’s just the right descending angle to lift your fingers off the brakes and let yourself fly! It was glorious! St Mary’s loch is essentially at the top of this hill, so on the way back home it’s a long and desperate grind. The flying outward leg soon turned and I was facing the climb back, and I quickly realised that the headwind that I thought I was pushing on the way out was actually a tailwind. Aaaargh! All I could do was just keep my head down, wobble my way back uphill, eat fistfuls of ShotBlox and drink some juice.
Finally the run section, along the Southern Upland Way beside St Mary’s Loch. No real climbing, just undulations and thin trods for the outgoing 5km and then turn around and do it all again in the opposite direction. I think all the eating at the end of the cycle paid dividends for the run. It felt quick, for me at least, passing lots of people on the way.
Once over the line, I spotted Chris standing, fully dressed. I automatically congratulated him on beating me in the race in true Scottish form – by insulting him and generally calling him names. Not so! He’d taken 4 strokes on the swim, and decided that he didn’t fancy the race after all. He then turned for the tea tent instead, got a brew, found some shelter in the car, and then went for a snooze. I really couldn’t blame him.
All that was left for me was to analyse my stats, get a burger and juice, and then head home to maybe get some beer. Looking deeper into the numbers I was 25th overall out of 150 finishers. It seems my swim is pretty rubbish (25:18 – 82nd), my cycle was pretty good (1:16:53 – 27th) and I’m really happy with my run (41:28 – 6th). Chris also got a PB on his tea drinking, so it wasn’t a wasted journey after all!
All in all, a nice wee diversion from hillrunning, which can be nice sometimes. A grand day all round!
The 2017 Celtman Triathlon took place on Saturday 17th June up in Torridon on Scotland’s magnificent Atlantic Coast. It’s a unique event, oversubscribed several times over each year, attracting triathletes from all over, with quite a strong contingent of racers from Sandinavia (as the race is part of some ‘Extreme’ dude series of three: The Norseman, Swissman and Celtman.
As Mark said in his report (here), it all went well, I came 5th and whilst I would have loved top 3 I do appreciate that if you want top Iron Man distance results then one’s training needs to be focussed on very long steady efforts and working to a low power (sorry but running and biking up and down hill is more fun, isn’t it?). Basically, the swim was rough and cold, and Mark literally did T1 for me. He was so quick in stripping off the 7mm of rubber off my chest that I’d already caught up about 20 lost places before getting on the bike. The bike was fast, cross and tail winds for the first 100 miles, and hence pretty exciting. 21-22mph average, mainly down again to Mark and Jim’s incredible support throwing fuel and encouragement at me from the van and side of the road. The head wind for the last 30 miles stopped everyone, rather frustrating, but T2 again performed by Mark put me straight into about 15th for the run. The big upset was that Torridon mountain rescue didn’t let racers up onto Beinn Eighe for the MTN run which is what it’s all about, so we had to do a lower level but still pretty rocky run. We ran much of this as a three and that was the most enjoyable, although hardest, part of the day, to take us into the finish in 5th overall.
Having two such great pals supporting is what made this a special race. Jim Hardy and Mark Hartree I won’t ever forget the support you gave me that day. Also the race atmosphere is pretty unique. If anyone fancies this event then please get in touch so I can pass on maps, info and my own support!
Race director Matt Davis’ report:
Let’s get the thanks out the way first. To our hosts Broughton Place for a fine venue, Laurel Bank ladies for looking after everyone post race, Carnethy back room staff who help coordinate the whole series & you the runners who rock up to take part.
36 folk turned up for this years Broughton Bash. The days earlier low cloud lifted for the race to add to a pleasant evening’s start. Runners took an array of variants up the first climb avoiding the classic snake line up, the optimum line clearly still to be worked out. Those of us at the start/finish could see the distant specks and a distinct solar flare of Messrs. Burnett climbing Hammerhead as the forecasted showers arrived pretty much on time ensuring hanging around at the finish wasn’t quite as convivial as it could have been. Nearly everyone got the new finish right, clearly a recce, reading the map or not listening to those subversive voices could have made all the difference but taking the more direct line didn’t benefit in the end.
Post race note. Don’t feel intimidated about running a handicap if you fancy it, there’s great support in the club and people really enjoy the trip to run in other peoples back yards. The worst bit for me, writing everyone’s name down (correctly) 🙂
The Broughton Bawbag
Many and varied were the routes taken up the first hill. It all looks so simple from the start, and there was plenty of comment as runners spread all over the hillside. It’s another matter when you are in the thick of the heather on the slope trying to find a good trod. One the fence is gained it’s good running all the way to the finish, barring some steep ascents or route failure (Phillipa took a detour or two). The weather was quite a contrast to the sunshine of the day before, but the clag at least kept off most of the tops. The promised rain started lightly and by the time we were in the excellent Laurel Bank (top marks for perfectly warmed roll with the soup) it was teeming down. Which may be why the finish recording camera went on strike.
Don’t forget the Club has a Strava group – details here
|Carnethy||Name||Finish time||Handicap||Run time|
|Y||Craig Mattocks||8:24:50||set off 7:36:23||36:23||0:48:27|
|Y||Gordon Eadie||8:28:42||12:27||1:16:15||Wrong Finish +5 min penalty|
|Y||Philippa Ivison||8:28:49||06:02||1:22:47||Wrong Finish +5 min penalty|
|Y (New)||Gemma Hopewell||8:32:12||set off 7:14:31||14:31||1:17:41|
|Y||Mike McCloy||8:32:21||set off 7:30||30:00||1:02:21|
|Y||Michael Wilkinson||8:38:09||set off 7:17||17:00||1:21:09|
|Y||Bill Gauld||8:42:17||set off 6:45||06:45||1:57:17||Wrong Finish +5 min penalty|
|Y||Ewart Scott||8:42:18||set off 6:45||06:45||1:57:18||Wrong Finish +5 min penalty|
|No||Owen Wilkinson||8:44:49||set off 7:30||30:00||1:14:49|
|No||Hannah Phelan||8:49:54||set off 7:25||25:00||1:24:54|
The Tranter Round has always held an appeal – being such an elegant circuit of some great mountains and challenging terrain. Despite thinking we’d used up all the wet weather in recent weekends in the hills, the weather gods were still mixed, and we found our best window to be a 12 hour slot on Friday between weather systems of heavy rain and wind. Ever optimistic and supremely confident in the forecasts, we set off at 5:57am in an anticlockwise direction.
Throughout the first 5hrs and the last couple of hours, the tops were in mist above 800m, and waterproofs were on and off several times. We were lucky to get a 4 hour spell of clear weather from Binnien Beag over the Grey Corries where we enjoyed some great views and glimpses of sun. Helen’s parents met us at the col between Stob Ban and Stob Choire Claurigh on the Grey Corries where we refuelled and stocked up on spare food.
The clag returned for the last four tops and the promised rain started on schedule at 5pm, just as we approached the final climb of Ben Nevis. We didn’t see anyone else all day until the descent (even the summit was clear to our great surprise). Helen ran the day by feel and didn’t want to know split times or have the pressure of a schedule to keep to. Andy on the other hand quite enjoyed tracking time, and had a range of schedules to hand! We finished at 6:22pm to complete the round in 12hr25.
Andy & Helen
(Ed.) This time beats Jamsin Paris’s previous record of 12hr41. Tranter round details here